Ms. Thelma, who is over 95 years old, invited me into her room today to talk with her and to pray with her. She began to reminisce about when she was a young teenage girl working in the tobacco fields, and chasing rabbits in those fields that eventually ended up on their dining room table for supper.
As we talked about all kinds of “wild game” her and I both have eaten over the years, from Elk down to Frog Legs, we were both laughing and thanking God for great memories with our loved one’s that have gone on, and for the family, friends, and faith that we have while here today. This precious lady blessed her Chaplain today.
And by the way there is a rumor that she beat her family in Wii bowling a few days ago in our activity room! Haha.
God is good! Life is good!
Tim Hill (Director of Spirituality)
Signature HealthCare of Nashville Rehabilitation
As you know, we are studying though the Bible in eight years with our residents. (Job Security!) Right now we are wandering through the desert of Deuteronomy. It’s not Hemingway.
I rarely think about the study before we do it twice a week. At the last minute, I pluck my tattered, soiled, and rebound, college RSV from the desk and then I sit down without fanfare or buildup and start reading where we left off, and everyone talks, people interrupt, one or two talk about things that are in no way related and they will not stop. Some sleep; others roll out the door and do whatever they do. Others roll in at the tail end and seem to listen.
And others and I feel something almost every time we read the Bible and that something is palpable and real. Now I hate to sound religious and I don’t like to lie about religious things. I refuse to say that God is “working” when I felt nothing. I try not to make up stuff about God.
But this study that we do is more than the sum of its parts.
Residents say that the study is good.
I think that it is the Spirit.
Just a quick update from our Wedgewood (Nashville) home. As we approach lifting this massive project “off the runway” God is doing some amazing things. One of our residents (Wanda) invited me to her church last night to meet her pastor and family. I gladly accepted, and later on in the evening found myself at Nolensville Road Baptist Church for the first time. I met Wanda’s pastor, her daughter and son in law, as well as many other folks.
I was amazed as Wanda’s family introduced me to their pastor, and began to share with him the amazing things that have happened to them since becoming a part of our Signature HealthCare family. They shared a miracle story of how she initially became an elder here, and also how much she is improving since finding a home here. I wish the cameras had been rolling for a Nashville commerical; they said it all!
Just a small “snap-shot” of some of the amazing things God is doing here right now! God bless and thanks for ALL of the prayers.
Tim Hill (Director of Spirituality)
Signature HealthCare of Nashville Rehabilitation and Wellness Center
I made the decision in less than a second.
I walked past the chapel in the massive hospital and debated whether or not to go in.
I even had a hitch in my step
And then I quickly walked on by.
I felt like I didn’t have time to stop and I am not sure why I had that feeling and then I walked on to my car and drove to work in the Sun.
And then nothing happened one way or the other.
Which brought to mind something that a fellow seminarian told me about thirty years ago? (I think it came from Augustine originally).
“Love God and do as you please.”
This morning on NPR I heard the nominee for the Secretary of the Interior say, “there is no mission without a margin.”
As chaplain, sometimes I forget that without a profit I can’t prophesy and that without money I can’t minister. In short, we Signature chaplains work in a business that has invited us in to pray, love, grow, and listen.
We Signature Chaplains have so many powerful gifts to offer, but none of them will ever be given to residents and family unless we understand, agree, and actively support the business end of our company.
As chaplain, were ever I go I have a ready eye open for referrals whether I am in the hospital, opera, In and Out Burger, or out on the town with the alluring Karen because good business always jibes with good ministry.
We are a business and a ministry.
We have a ministry because we have a margin.
Good margins make good ministry!
This week we have a resident who hasn’t walked in over a year. She’s walking now, mastered getting in and out of bed. No longer depressed-hopeless. She expressed her desire to quit smoking and she’s on her way to living with purpose!
On the long-term side, I stepped back and evaluated many of our residents then and now. Drastic changes! And it is wonderful! Their countenances have lit up! Smiles in the hallways! Purposes are being restored! God is moving!
Yesterday, we had a new admission, who is Chinese speaks no English, and I was led to find a translation website to introduce myself to him. Wow! wish you could have seen his face. He brightened up as if the sun was shining through him! He turned and extended His hands to shake mine as I responded to him with prayers and God’s love! I could go on! God is moving! Take up your bed and walk! God is moving! Heaven on Earth!
As I sat by the bedside of one of our precious residents who will soon be taking that “Heavenly Journey”, my thoughts went back to the first time she entered our facility. V__ was petite, neat, and so sweet! I recalled the many mornings when she would roll other resident to breakfast, or just sit with others and sip on her coffee. V__ was a woman of great pride, her hair was always fixed, her clothes matched, and her room was always tidy, her smile was contagious and her soft voice was beautiful! V__had one problem!!! Alzheimers!!
In the past year I have witnessed V__ losing most of her normal motor skills, her eyes seemed filled with tears and fears, her soft voice had now turned into groanings, and her appeareance depended upon others clothing her etc..
Yes, as I sat by her bedside, no one but me and V__ I thought how blessed I was for being able to “just sit” by such a sweet precious lady! I had a lot of good moments with V__ and it hurts to see her in this condition, but it maskes me feel great to know that I have been part of a company that has made a difference!
Thanks to all the Signature family for allowing me the opportunity to serve!
Ronnie Case – Director of Spirituality
The Bridge at South Pittsburg, TN
I now believe that there is certain time in everyone’s life when we finally get it.
And this is “it”: (get ready for the secret to existence in 11 words)
“Smile. Stand tall. Forgive. Take nothing personally. Be kind to all.”
There it is.
I am now ready for Nirvana or at least a very good day at work.
Following my sermon in this morning’s Facility Chapel, an opinionated resident and auditor called me to her side and offered the following advice.
“Every speaker should be aware of the three S’s. Stand up so that you can be seen. Speak up so that you can be heard and then shut up so that you will be appreciated.”
I smiled, ground my teeth, thanked her and then went and took an aspirin.
There is nothing like honest evaluation of one’s sincerest efforts.
Today, I assisted Harry with his meal at noontime.
We talked about his home state of Maryland and its politics and Harry gave a very colorful run down on several politicians many of whom are still nationally prominent. The stories were full of zing and gossip, just the kind of stories that most of us really like if we admit it. He said that one current Maryland is the best “cusser” he has ever known and Harry was a cop for several decades.
During the conversation I asked Harry what he would do differently is he had his life to live over. He said “I would be a lawyer so that I could have a good life and get into politics.”
I said, “Harry, maybe this is something you can do in your next life.”
“This life is all that there is.”
I said, “OK”.
I plan to spend more time with Harry. I like his honesty and I love his clear thinking about how we humans really are. It is a pleasure to talk with someone who still thinks about life and sees it for what it is. Someone who knows the real score yet manages to enjoy a banana and cake and between bites laughs about our human condition.
Harry knows that life isn’t fair and he is prepared to find what joy he can even if that joy may include an occasional conversation with someone who is assisting him eat his lunch because he is blind.